Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Will Paul Harvey have the rest of the story?

The NYTimes devotes 1000 or so words to Netflix and you might be tempted to hope for some actual news. But no. It's like David Leonhardt cliffsnoted the BusinessWeek article, then threw in some mail-house logistics to make everything look fresh.

Or maybe it's just me. Doesn't download talk already seem like hype? A little "ready, fire, aim?"

To my ad brain (which I keep in a jar in the bottom right drawer of my desk), Netflix is interesting for one simple reason: they know the customer and that's an advantage that Blockbuster and the studios don't have: "Netflix uses data to make decisions moguls make by gut. The average user rates more than 200 films, and Netflix crunches consumers' rental history and film ratings to predict what they'll like." That info guides everything Netflix does -- even new partnerships with independent filmmakers.

Isn't that a big deal? As much money as studios spend on test-screenings, re-shooting and promotions, doesn't it still amaze you that they can be so wrong? I mean: Poseidon. People who love movies -- people who are in business to serve people who love movies -- wouldn't have wasted our time.

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